I have often wondered why no robot vacuum cleaner manufacturer has taken an interest in the robot lawn mower market.
I know what I’m talking about because I own a very good Husqvarna automower in the garden for almost 10 years and I have a robot vacuum cleaner “farm”.
Robot automowers are in their behavior quite similar to first generation robot vacuum cleaners with chaotic movement algorithms based on reaction to obstacles.
The movement, the efficiency and therefore the time to complete their task are not under control
As there are not always walls or clear obstacles in a garden, robot mowers use a boundary wire in addition to the shock and ultrasound sensors. A wire delimits the area to be mowed. This cable expensive to install and is a source of problems (cutting, oxidation).
The game could change with the introduction of the first robot mower from one of the specialists in robot vacuum cleaners: Ecovacs. The brand has changed its mission to “robotics for all” and it is no longer limited to cleaning our homes. I just watched their official video launching new products and I restructured the info in this post.
What they launched as new robo Automower is called Ecovacs Goat G1.
A SMART MODEL
The brand first relied on its expertise in environment recognition, which it masters through LDS laser and VSlam camera technologies.
A yard is not designed like a house. Boundaries are less clear and the garden can even be open.
LGoat G1 offers a system called “TrueMapping Multi-Fusion Localization”. It is based on a 360° camera on top and a fish eye camera in front. The panoramic camera on top can capture images up to 100 meters. The front camera captures images at an angle of 150° and also a long view up to 100 meters. The automower is able to analyze at a speed of 25 images per second.
For positioning, the ROBOT does not rely on the GPS Real Time Kinematic (RTK) satellite positioning technique. Ecovacs considers it not accurate enough and it can be easily obstructed by buildings or obstacles. Ecovacs proposes a GPS with a complementary Ultra Wide Band (UWB) technology that is more efficient.
It comes in the form of an antenna to be placed at the edge of the garden.
This technology has a low latency, is low power consumption and of course easy to install.
A MOVEMENT LIKE A VACUUM CLEANER ROBOT
The configuration of the Ecovacs mowing robot is similar to the one of a robot vacuum cleaner. You need to use a mobile application and let the robot detect the boundaries of the garden once so he can create a map.
The Goat G1 will then move in a systematic way with an efficiency that automatically exceeds that of a randomly moving mowing robot. Ecovacs claims no less than 600 square meters of mowing in one day.
For obstacle recognition, the Ecovacs Goat G1 uses the manufacturer’s AIVI technology. It consists of vision sensors associated with Tof (Time-of-Flight) detectors. This allows the mower to avoid small objects and anticipate larger ones like trees.
In addition, the mower can become a security system with detection and presence and remote control of the camera. The whole system is certified for the protection of personal data.
A CLASSIC MOWER DESIGN
We must not forget the grass cutting performance and it is obviously on this point that the manufacturer must make its proof. The system is based on a classic central blade capable of 22 centimeters of cutting. The height can be adjusted on 13 levels, from 3 to 6 cm.
The integrated battery is a 5,2Ah 3Ah which do not allow to estimate how much time of mowing is possible before a returning to the base. Its wheels of 22 cm allow to climb slopes of 45%.
The robot is then waterproof IPX6.
The annoucement is interesting and will force the historical players to do something to avoid being outdated. I hope that this could also lead to lower prices.
A robotic lawnmower is above all a lawnmower that must be reliable. The device must be able to survive the rain, the sun, the dust… the environment is not as cocooned as a living room.
Ecovacs does not give any information about the cutting supporting intelligence of its device. The most recent Husqvarna robots sense the amount of grass and can decide to move back in if they have nothing to cut. They also detect rain and go home if it rains. The intelligence is not only in the way it moves.
ECOVACS GOAT G1 ROBOT MOWER, PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The price is still unknown. The Goat G1 robotic lawnmower will first be sold in China and then in Europe in March 2023.